Aspen Skiing Co. asks Pitkin County to put review of Pandora’s ski terrain expansion on hold

Aspen Skiing Co. proposed a terrain expansion and new chairlift in the Pandora's area of Aspen Mountain.
Courtesy image

Aspen Skiing Co. wants to put the debate over its proposed expansion into the Pandora’s terrain on Aspen Mountain on hold.

Skico submitted a letter to Pitkin County seeking separation of the review of Pandora’s from the consideration of an updated master plan for the existing Aspen Mountain ski area.

The county commissioners were scheduled to consider both issues Wednesday. Instead, Skico is asking them to put issues tied to Pandora’s on hold for at least three months and to proceed as quickly as possible with a vote on the updated master plan for the existing ski area.

By separating the issues, Skico can move ahead with planning projects with the existing ski area such as expanded snowmaking.

The county planning staff recommended approving Skico’s request.

David Corbin, Skico vice president of planning and development, sought via the letter at least a three-month delay in reviewing Pandora’s to allow the company to assess its direction and consult with the county about the public review process required for the proposal. The letter was dated Aug. 30 and revealed as part of the county meeting packet released Friday.

Skico wants to add terrain and a chairlift on the upper east side of Aspen Mountain. The terrain has been within the ski area’s permit boundary but not in its operational boundary. To accomplish the expansion, Skico needs the county to approve a rezoning of the land.

The proposal ran into a hurdle Aug. 28 when the commissioners were deadlocked 2-2 over the rezoning. Commissioners George Newman and Greg Poschman supported the rezoning; commissioners Steve Child and Kelly McNicholas Kury were opposed. Skico asked for a delay in formal vote so the company could reassess the situation.

Kury said Aug. 28 she would prefer to see Skico’s request for Pandora’s be assessed as part of the East of Aspen/Independence Pass Master Plan.

The Pandora’s expansion proposal also has brought out strong factions of the community both for and against the project.

Regarding the master plan for the existing ski area, the planning staff said one outstanding issue is nighttime use of the Sundeck and Silver Queen Gondola. Skico is seeking approval for 150 events per calendar year. The current limit is 72.

The county commissioners will take up discussion of the Skico issues at their meeting Wednesday.


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